Exploring nature through art and crafts is an excellent way for a child to develop an appreciation for the natural world—and have fun while doing it! Creating with the parts of nature, or inspired by nature, also helps to promote nature connectedness. Of course, the art your child chooses to create is up to them. Perhaps they want to make a nature film, photography or nature sketches. But for crafty kids, we've pulled together our favorite, easy ideas.

How did we select these projects from the hundreds you can find any day on Instagram or Pinterest? We focused in on crafts that were not too complicated so children of any age or level of interest in art could join in. We think simplicity is beautiful. It's also easier on parents and caretakers so we've focused on activities that require 5 or fewer items to get going. We're not fans of anything wasteful. Bins of completed art projects in your house not helpful. Bookmarks or bird feeders are.

Respecting nature is perhaps most important to us so we opt for ideas that never, ever harm nature. We encourage working with loose parts that have fallen from trees on their own. We leave flowers to the pollinators and leaves to the trees until they are through with them. We use acorns sparingly so the critters who need them will have them. The best activities, in our view, are those that help teach respect for nature, and maybe give back a little too.

So please explore our favorite 10 nature craft projects using 5 items or less.

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose leaves found on the ground
  • Paints or paint markers

How to Make it:

Gather loose leaves from the ground. Brush off any dust. Cut out eyes. Design as desired!

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose parts from nature
  • Glue gun

How to Make It:

  • Gather loose parts outside, plan creatures & assemble!

Nature Bookmarks

Supplies Needed:

  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils or paints
  • Paper cut in strips

How to Make it:

Help your child make blank templates from paper by cutting out bookmark-sized strips of paper. Find a source of inspiration in a book, outside or in the imagination and design away!

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose parts from nature
  • Mud made using dirt and water or clay

How to Make It:

  • Envision a proper face for the tree, mix the mud, gather loose parts and then just bring the tree to life!

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose leaves 
  • Glue
  • Large sheet of paper for background
  • Paints or paint markers

How to Make it:

Gather loose leaves from outside. Brush off any dust. Fashion them into critters. Glue to the paper and there you have it!

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose parts from nature

How to Make It:

  • Gather inspiring loose parts, envision your design and make it real. Then, let the wind blow it away.

Leaf Folder

Supplies Needed:

  • Old cardboard
  • Markers or paints
  • Twine

How to Make it:

Get some cardboard from a recycled box, cut it to approximately 8" x 11" and then fold in half. Decorate the front cover and then tie twine to close the folder.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pinecones
  • Peanut butter
  • Birdseed
  • Twine or string

How to Make It:

  • Smear the pinecone with the peanut butter, roll in pine seed, attach string to the top of the feeder.

Supplies Needed:

  • Loose leaves or flowers
  • School glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Parchment paper
  • Empty glass jar

How to Make it:

Gather loose leaves or flowers from outside. Place between two sheets of parchment paper and place a book on top to press. Paint outside of cleaned glass jar with glue. Attach leaves or flowers in pattern desired. Add a second layer of glue. Let dry.

Zombie Heads

Supplies Needed:

  • Coconuts
  • Paints
  • Paintbrushes

How to Make It:

  • Fall doesn't mean falling leaves and plentiful pumpkins everywhere, especially in the tropics. In some places, coconuts are falling from trees instead of leaves. Here, just gather some fallen coconuts and decorate to look like shrunken heads. Fun!

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